[Sinn Fein]

22 October 2002

``Proposed Bord Gáis price hike totally unacceptable'' - Ferris

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Marine and Natural Resources Martin Ferris TD has reacted angrily at reports that Bord Gáis is looking to increase prices by up to 26%.

Deputy Ferris stated : ``This proposed increase is unacceptable. In the past number of months people on lower incomes have had to tighten their belts even further as prices have increased. Coupled with the ESB price hike of recent months, this will only compound peoples financial problems. Particularly coming into the winter months this is going to hit people very hard.

``I would be very concerned for all those who currently find it very difficult to balance their budgets. Increases on such an excessive scale are completely unjustified. Where are people expected to find this extra money?

``The government needs to explain to the people why such massive increases are being proposed. I would suggest that it is related to its give-away of the massive Corrib gas resources. The short-sightedness of the Government on this matter now means that Bord Gáis is left without adequate resources to build and upgrade its infrastructure throughout the 26 Counties.

``Bord Gáis has admitted that it is seeking these increases in order to build pipelines across the state. The virtual give-away of the Corrib gas to a private corporation has denied Bord Gáis massive resources which would have provided the funds to carry out this necessary work. Now the ordinary consumer is expected to pay. It's a disgrace. This is just another example of how this government lacks any fundamental understanding of the effects of its actions. Its cosying up to big business will again negatively impact most on the less well off in society.'' ENDS

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